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Border Walls and the Scriptures

Walls and Gates - From Genesis to Revelation

January 7, 2019

The relevance of walls and gates to protect our nation’s borders is increasingly controversial. Effective walls and gates are documented in history as well as scripture - from Genesis to Revelation. When expelled from the Garden, an angel with a flaming sword unconditionally prevented fallen (corrupt) human nature from reentering. Revelation 21-22 represents the final transition: Garden to Holy City…a massive city with gigantic walls and 12 gates, also preventing fallen (corrupt) human nature from entering. 

Inevitably there must be principles, rules, and standards undergirding decision-making. The far left, the far right, and those in between - all claim justified positions. But are they? To discern a justified position, one must examine the consequences. Also any collateral damage. For instance, what will be the final, long-term fruit of each proposed position? Does the end justify the means? And even more important: Do the means meet standards which are moral, humane, right (the “right” thing to do), and legitimate for all involved? Plus, are there eternal principles “set in stone” which must be prioritized? And how does this apply to America under President Trump?

  1. WALL - A barrier, structure, stake or post set in place to secure and defend against enemies in order to ensure protection, security, and safety. Literal walls are required to keep out unsanctioned, illegal, or uncivilized entrance; whereas symbolic posts or signs suffice for civilized peoples who respect law and order. 
  2. GATE - A legal and authentic door, framework or system to facilitate “right of passage” for entrance to a home, building, castle, temple, city or nation. Gates signify an entrance which allows or guards against bogus “rights of passage”. Gates can be literal or symbolic. 
  3. GATEKEEPERS - Persons, powers, or principles which guard, defend, secure, keep back, repel, or by authority stop assaults and dangers - to keep persons and possessions safe. 
The bottom line for any family, society, or government relies on agreed principles, covenants, and constitutional rules of social order. Lacking these, the social order degenerates into anarchy and chaos. History documents the usual outcome is a despotic strongman take-over coup to establish military rule, to enforce order out of chaos, but which inevitably squelches personal, social, and economic liberty and freedom.
HISTORICALLY: Historically uncivilized peoples constructed literal gates and walls to protect themselves and repel enemies by military force. As nations became more civilized: negotiations, honor, mutual trade, and respect became the norm. What happens when civilization breaks down?  Back to gates and walls, whether literal or substituted by electronic defenses, drones, air power, missiles and so on. Or both.
SCRIPTURALLY: Interestingly the walls and gates of Eden and “New Jerusalem” were real and amazingly effective. Examined carefully - neither were literal walls nor literal gates. There appeared to be a repelling angelic force-field of intense light which effectively shielded and protected the clean from the unclean, the moral from the immoral, and the righteous from the unrighteous.
Today is neither Eden nor New Jerusalem. In pre-Christian and medieval times, farmers who labored in the fields slept in gated cities for protection. Landlords, however, had their own armed servants. Kings and nobles had castles, towers, moats, and armies. As our world became more civilized, as the gospel expanded, society relaxed and became more safe and secure. 
PRESENTLY: As our world becomes more dangerous, the rules change. Open doors transition to locked doors.  Fear is palpable. The social order is collapsing globally. Wisdom dictates that we adjust accordingly. It appears it will get worse before it gets better. Therefore adjustments must be well-thought-out. What are the priorities & principles in a nutshell?

Consider the following:

  1. PRIORITIES: The scriptural priority is first the family, then the tribe, and finally the nation.
  2. PRINCIPLES AND LAWS OF A RIGHTEOUS NATION are to protect its own families and citizens. 
  3. Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends.
  4. Worse than infidels are those who do not provide for their own families.

Lessons from these chapters reveal the uniqueness and necessity of walls and gates. These unique kingdom walls and gates are defined as much more than temporary stone, timber, and steel. These walls and gates are massive, have angelic gatekeepers, the gates are never closed, each constructed of gigantic pearls - allowing only those with white robes to enter - whereas those who are deceitful, hypocritical, immoral, murderers, and liars are denied the right of entry. 
Two questions. 
1. Are similar principles and guidelines applicable to moral earthly governments, especially where the God of Scripture is honored and obeyed? 
2. Are the explicit purposes of walls and gates, literal or symbolic, to separate and protect legitimate legal citizens from illegal agendas? 

Ponder, therefore, the following: 

  1. “He carried me away in the realm of the Spirit to the top of a great, high mountain. There he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending…It had a massive high wall with twelve gates, and each gate had an angel…” Rev. 21: 10b & 12a PT (PT = Passion Translation)  
  2. “The angel who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, its gates and walls…”  Rev. 21:15 PT
  3. “The twelve gates are twelve pearls - each gate made of one pearl…” Rev. 21:21a  PT
  4. “Its gates will never be shut by day - standing always open - because there is no night there.” Rev. 21:25 PT
  5. Evil will not enter (through its gates), nor anyone who does what is abhorrent or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Book of life of the Lamb.” Rev. 21:27 PT
  6. “And every curse will be broken and no longer exist, for the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there.”  Rev. 22:3 PT
  7. “Wonderfully blessed are those who wash their robes white so they can access the tree of Life and enter the city of bliss by its open gate. Those not permitted to enter are outside: the malicious hypocrites, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, murderers, idolaters, and every lover of lies.”  Rev. 21:14-15 PT
Peering into the distant future, old covenant prophesies confirm what we just read in Revelations. For instance:

  1. “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah:  We have a strong city; salvation will he appoint for walls and bulwarks.” (Isa. 26:1)
  2. “Violence shall no more be heard in the land, desolation nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise (Isa 60:18)
  3. “For I, says Jehovah, will be unto her as a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her.”  (Hos 2:4,5, cf. 8:4,5) (A “wall of fire” provides protection and light as well as a barrier impossible to cross.)

Historically and scripturally walls and gates had vital purposes. The same is true today. To facilitate border security, in an ever-growing crisis in today’s dangerous world, Trump has promised a wall. It was one of his primary election promises. Because God’s command and mandate are to honor those in authority over us, I am proposing we honor President Trump and his promise. The goal is “Peace through Strength.” 

  1. The Gamaliel Principle. Acts 5:38 & context PT: “So in this situation, you should just leave these men to themselves.  For if this plan or undertaking originates with men, it will fade away and come to nothing. But if this movement is of God, you won’t be able to stop it. And you might discover that you were fighting God all along!” Gamaliel’s wise counsel was to leave them alone. We spend hundreds of billions rebuilding and protecting other nations. We spend multiplied billions apprehending, jailing, and deporting illegal criminals, compared to the lesser billions it takes to build and maintain a protective barrier. Therefore let President Trump fulfill his promise to build the wall. 
  2. The Timothy Principle. I Tim. 5:8 PT:  “But if any provides not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” We must protect America first. Charity begins at home. Charity secondarily expands beyond our borders - as a free will offering and choice - to bless and serve our neighbors. 
  3. The Love Principle: Compassionate love is illustrated first by protecting our own families, cities, and nation. Compassion begins first at home. It is also love and compassion to keep bad people out. (Does anyone reading this, because of compassion and love, leave their gates and doors open to anyone claiming need, including disguised liars, thieves, and murderers? Do any of our leaders attacking the Border Wall open their own gates, doors, and wallets to illegals? Statistics prove otherwise.
  4. The Good Samaritan Principle: Nevertheless we emphatically do have a significant responsibility toward the foreigner within our borders; and also to the poor, widows and fatherless.  Undocumented aliens from outside our borders, some planning harm, must be cross-examined, before entering “legally,” by significantly improving outdated laws. 
  5. The Good Shepherd Principle: John 10:1 PT: Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Listen to this eternal truth: The person who sneaks over the wall to enter into the sheep pen, rather than coming through the gate, reveals himself as a thief coming to steal.” Therefore illegally sneaking over walls violates eternal principles.
  6. The Light Principle.  Intense light does not tolerate darkness. When people choose darkness, they are repelled by light - especially intense light. Light exposes darkness. This relates to the scripture that “people love darkness more than light.” They hate light and defend darkness. To require them to live in light would be the ultimate torment. Intense light, truth, and transparency separate genuine truth from corrupt darkness. Righteous dispassionate justice allows people to choose which side of the wall fits their moral code. Consequently, walls, gates, signs, posts, chasms and light illustrate and defend ultimate choices.    
  7. The Restoration Principle. When Cyrus released captive Israel to return and rebuild, at first they procrastinated in rebuilding their ruined walls and gates. God sent prophets and leaders to light their fire. This is outlined in the restoration books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Within and without they were hindered by naysayers. When there was a will there was a way. Against all odds, they prevailed. Could this be a lesson for today?
Note that government buildings, the White House, foreign embassies, and gated communities have imposing stone and steel walls, iron gates, and paid guards. Having lived and taught in foreign cities such as Bogota Colombia, San Juan Cosa Rica, and Salta Argentina, I have been impressed that private homes, buildings, businesses, banks, and government buildings have imposing walls, steel gates, iron-barred windows, and metal locked and bolted doors. The reason is that what is not locked down, protected, and guarded disappears. If violent riots and robberies continue to escalate, this same scenario may become necessary in the cities of America also. Let’s be honest and admit the increasing need for our own walls, gates, and gatekeepers - to keep illegal drugs, criminals, cartels, sex trafficking, insurgents, and militants out. 
A key requirement for positive change includes a “Third Great Awakening.” Any effective Awakening must transition from Revival to Reformation. As a nation revives and reforms, the rules change again. 
God Himself becomes our Strong Tower. Our Rock of Refuge. Our Tower of Defense. 
Light, Truth, and Peace are typically birthed during dark days. Isaiah 60 prophesies this. As a nation, Isaiah 60 and Revelations 22 must become our hope and destiny. It is not, however, our present reality. In the meantime, we must be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Could that reality include preventing an escalation of illegal invasions - by completing a wall or fence, and multiple gates for legal entrance, and changing our immigration laws to better facilitate fair and just immigration? 

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Dr. Roger DeHaan has degrees in medicine, theology and holistic health.  Having served 12 years in the rainforests of Colombia, S.A. in agricultural, educational and Christian missions, and authored 3 books on integrative health and Creation Care, he now lives in Kings Mountain, NC.